Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Community of Interest › Community › Old poem–Vivian Locke Palmer
- December 27, 2007 at 11:24 pm #39353goodcompanionParticipant
This poem was written by my pre-school teacher, Vivian Locke Palmer. I found a copy of it for the first time just a couple years ago along with my certificate of completion of pre-school from 1977. I have no idea if this poem has ever been printed elsewhere or why I have a copy–a very strange and timely message from my old teacher of whom I have only a gauzy, benevolent memory. The material is very appropriate for this forum and I thought “community” would be the best heading.
Time for me
On grandfather’s farm in ’34
I heard talk that we were poor,
But I felt rich when I was four
‘Cause Gramp had time for me.
He was a husky man with weathered skin,
A chewing-tobacco man with a playful grin,
A tender man with the time to spin
A childhood with me.
I’d follow along when he did his chores,
In the barn, outdoors.
If I’d stop to look at a stone,
He didn’t leave me there alone,
He’d be looking with me.
We smelled the fresh earth as it turned from the plow;
We talked about worms and the freshening cow.
Under spring’s sun the sweat on Gramp’s brow,
Like raindrops on a window, dripped down his face,
Then he’d tell me to pick a good place
To picnic under a tree.
The work of horse and man was done
Each day with setting sun,
For darkness sweetly blessed the one
Who toiled all day and thought to pray:
“Father, we thank Thee,
And if thou wilt send us sun and rain
In right amounts we’ll have grain
Enough to fill the bin,
In spite of crows, Christ’s name, Amen.
If it doth please Thee.”
As I look back it seems untrue,
Like magic without a clue,
That tasks were finished as he had planned:
All Gramp had was horse and hand,
Sunshine, rain and bottom land,
Yet some time was free.
Then the magic, unnoticed, just slipped away.
A new machine that didn’t eat hay
Took the horses’ place. It came to stay
To save Gramp’s energy.
He said I mustn’t go near the thing,
I might get hurt; so in the spring,
At planting time, I stayed behind
While the new machine, unkind,
Took Gramp away from me.
Gramp then had MORE fields to plaw,
MORE seeds to plant, MORE crops to grow.
To get money he’d sell the grain,
But oh, the pain:
To pay for the deceitful thing,
Less time for me.
Another change came to Gramp’s farm
To benefit all, – an irresistible charm,
For it brought to house and barn
A new life style: a bold bright light!
Gramp could work late at night.
Too late for me.
In the big old rocker we used to share,
We’d laugh and talk, tickle and stare,
Until the new box moved in there,
With strangers’ voices from far away.
We didn’t talk. We didn’t play.
We listened silently.
When I think about the “poorer days”,
When people lived the harder ways,
Times are better now than then?…
Perhaps. But I remember when
God and earth were close to men
And Gramp had time for me.
Vivian Locke Palmer 1974December 27, 2007 at 11:43 pm #45074RodParticipant
Great poem.January 1, 2008 at 2:17 am #45073Gabe AyersKeymaster
This poem pretty much sums up my life as a youngster being raised by my grandfather in the 50’s. When my grandmother finally, as she said, “broke him of his farming habit” he went to town and got a public work job at the tractor dealership.
From that point on we seemed to spend more time together riding in the truck than being on the farm, in the field or woods. Must have had enough time with the animals early on to have mattered. So if you have young kids, spend time with them and your animals. Talk to the kids and the horses. They are both listening.
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